Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
“The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness” -Pope Benedict XVI
I always want everything in life to go my way. I want to be comfortable, successful, always happy, and in control. However, this is not really how a life following God works. Jesus calls us to follow Him, to trust that He is working in our lives, maybe in ways we don't even understand. It does not seem to make sense that those who suffer see God and the rich and comfortable are blind to Him. But, when you look with the eyes of faith, we know that God has a reason for everything and this is not irrational.
God became man, and He did not live a wealthy or even a comfortable life. During His time in ministry, the One through whom all creation was made had no stable income, no home to return to, a lot of people wrote Him off as crazy or a liar, and some of His friends turned their backs on Him. Jesus lived a hard life and He is still with those who suffer now. He is with you in all your hardships and He suffers with you in the difficult situations in your life. You are not alone in your pain and suffering.
As Christians, we are called to live like Christ. This means we strive to follow the words and teachings of Jesus, spreading His mission of proclaiming the Good News of Salvation, and giving up comfort is a part of this. I think this is a huge pill to swallow but it's true. You are not called to be the most popular in school, have the best instagram photos, get the best job, be the best athlete, or even the best student. You are called to love like Christ, to offer your life to God while putting others first. Living like Jesus and loving like He calls us to in the Gospels is what true greatness is. Lazarus in today's Gospel lived a painful life that looks pitiful to any healthy person, but Jesus uses this parable to show us that greatness is not in victorious or triumphant accomplishments, but in the love of God.
Life is full of hardships, but we can always unite our sufferings to Christ. He has taken all our sins and suffered for them on the Cross, and we can offer our own sufferings to Him. There is a real closeness to Christ that comes with that. But it is in this closeness to Christ through our love and imitation of Him that makes us truly great. Wealth, status, and power lead to comfort, but you are called to greatness: a life centered on following Jesus and growing closer to Him, no matter hardships in life. And remember, the greatest life we can possibly imagine, filled with joy and peace, free from all pain and illness, comes after this life. Jesus has given us the gift of eternal life, we just have to accept it and live our lives on earth in anticipation for the perfection to come.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What comforts do you rely on that keep you from depending on Jesus? What do you need to do to decrease your reliance on these things?
How do you handle hardship? Do you let it turn you from God, or do you unite it to the Cross?
How can you be truly great today? How can you live like Christ?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Lead me, Lord."
"Help me love like you."
"I love you."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Do something that makes you uncomfortable for the sake of loving like Jesus does. Even if it involves sacrificing your time or money, love someone today in a way that you might not normally do. This could mean talking to someone who seems alone, or donating money to the poor, or stopping gossip. Whatever you do, do it in love.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Mary Griffin, a graduate student of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
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